A prayer for Christmas

Jesus our Savior,
At your first advent the shepherds were told:
“You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
We bow before the mystery of your incarnation.
You have used weakness to confound strength
and poverty to make earthly riches into nothing.
We remember the millions in our world today
who are hungry, who receive no hospitality—
those with whom you have become one by being born in a manger.

Joseph was told: “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him.
So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.”
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night.
Jesus our Savior, we call upon you
on behalf of all who have fled their homes in the darkness of night.
We remember the millions in our world who have been made refugees,
who have been forced to seek asylum in lands not their own,
who are displaced, homeless, landless, or lost—
all whose experience you have made your own by your incarnation.

We read that in the violence of Herod
the terrible prophecy of Jeremiah came true:
“A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
she refuses to be comforted, for they are dead.”
O Jesus, our hearts are heavy with the sufferings of this world.
We remember the many victims of political power and greed:
the innocent killed in war and violence,
all those who are tortured or put to death,
those who languish in prisons and camps,
those missing or held hostage—
all whose lot you shared by being born during the reign of Herod.

The words of your mother Mary echo in our minds:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.”
That is what we wish for in this time of Advent,
for our souls to overflow with words like those!
Jesus, renew us and fill our hearts with hope
as we remember again that this is the world you have loved,
and these are the people with whom you have forever joined yourself.
By your Spirit give us confidence that you will finish your good work here,
and give us your powerful, world-changing love. Amen.

(Adapted from The Worship Sourcebook)

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